Special Interests

Special Interests Cover

Compared to love, politics is easy…

Union organizer Millie Frank’s world isn’t filled with cocktails and nightclubs…until she’s turned into an unwitting minor celebrity. As if being part of a hostage situation wasn’t traumatizing enough, now her face is splashed across the news. But Millie’s got fresher wounds to nurse—like being shot down by the arrogant bad boy she stupidly hit on.

Parker Beckett will do whatever it takes to close a deal for the senate majority leader, including selling out union labor. Charming and smart on the surface, he’s also cynical and uncommitted—an asset on the Hill. But something about Millie has stuck with him and when negotiations bring her to his office, Parker breaks his own rules and asks her out.

Parker can’t understand how Millie has retained her idealism in a place like D.C. Millie can’t believe what Parker’s willing to sacrifice in order to pass a budget. But as they navigate their political differences, what grows between them looks a lot like a relationship…and maybe even a little like love.


“I loved the tussle between Millie and Parker and the way these two characters seek out to change the way people think about them. Millie as more than the celebrity she’s accidentally found herself to be, and Parker no longer wants to be seen as the cynical guy with no interest in love.” – Beyond My Writing Space

Both Millie and Parker are finding themselves, discovering even after years of work and friends and life what it means to be happy and how to find fulfillment.  Millie is the firing pin in Parker’s cynicism, making him re-examine what he is actually trying to do in Washington.  Both characters brought out the best in each other and I totally bought into their happy ever after.” – Dear Author

“I love their fights, their conversations, their witty banter. This is a story about finding that unexpected gift of love and realizing that you will do anything to hold on to it. I loved this book and I think you will to.” – Harlequin Junkie

“…[the] inability to negotiate a budget that keeps its government operating are the backdrop to Millie and Parker’s relationship; their courtship’s wheeling-and-dealings reflect and undermine it, complete it and must stand outside of it, resolve to the domestic sphere for happiness and political for hope.” – Miss Bates Reads Romance

“Special Interests is smart and sassy. …It reminded me of real life, when those you love defend a position you disagree with, but their commitment to their values is so attractive it makes you love them even more.” – Random Book Muses

“…I enjoyed this very much, and will definitely keep an eye out for more books by this author.” – Rosario’s Reading Journal

I have so many good things to say about this book that I don’t even know where to start. … I had all the feels.” – Smexy Books

“While this is undeniably a love story, it’s also about the development of two people, who as both individuals and as a couple need grow into what they want and need to be. The whole book is so well written, entertaining tender and sexy[.]” – A Very British Book Blog

“If you love a good contemporary romance with politics thrown in, you will love this book.” – We Love Kink

“Yet despite being about the mind-boggling subject of lobbyists in Washington D.C., it worked for me. … They’re overworked and troubled and leading kind of messed up lives, but they don’t feel like they’re on another place of existence.” – A Willful Woman

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How do I buy it? It’s now called The One You Want, and it’s available at ebook and print retailers as of 2/21/22.
  • How long is Special Interests? 73,000 words, or on the shorter end of single-title length.
  • What’s the heat level? It’s sensual but not erotic.
  • Are there any content notes? On-page sex and alcohol use; profanity; references to anxiety and trauma; a character with Alzheimer’s in assisted living; on-page night terrors; extensive political discussion.
  • What inspired you to write the book? I am a total and complete political junkie and have been since I was a kid. I even spent a few years working in Washington, DC, right after college. The Pinterest board for the book is here and the Spotify playlist for the book is here.
  • What was the writing process like? I started it during the summer of 2012, wrote most of it during National Novel Writing Month that year, and then pitched the book on Twitter in April 2013. The story of how I sold the series is here.
  • I don’t like politics. Should I still read the book? I answer this question in depth here. Essentially, I don’t see the book as having an agenda, and I don’t think you have to like politics or agree with Millie and Parker’s policy solutions to like the book. But your mileage may vary.
  • I’d like to review the book. Awesome! I hope you love it, but if you don’t, I support your right to review it honestly however and wherever you want. Reviews are for readers not writers. While bad reviews are unpleasant, I’ll live and I won’t harass you about it. Promise.


Chapter 1

“Oh good, it’s not too crowded,” Alyse said over the throbbing ba-doush-doush-doush of dance music as they approached Tom Tom.

Millie Frank glared at her roommate’s back. Obviously they understood the word crowded differently. Tom Tom was packed, even by the standards of a Thursday night in Adams Morgan. Every stool around the bar had an occupant, the dance floor teemed with sweaty bodies and the tables were all full. Granted, there was just enough space between the people not to qualify as a fire hazard—that must have been what Alyse meant.

As she crossed the threshold, the completely predictable thing happened: heads clicked toward Millie in unison like some sort of bizarre theme-park ride. All they needed now was some creepy music and choreography to complete the picture. It’s a damned small world after all.

One week ago, the incident had occurred. An incident of such gargantuan proportion and humiliating potential that even by the standards of her life, it stood out. Every twenty-four-hour news network had spent the better part of an afternoon covering her.

This stuff never happened to Alyse. This stuff never happened to anyone. Millie sighed and let her head fall forward onto her chest, trying to ignore the pointing and whispering not even Europop could hide. The attention had to go away eventually.

For the moment, she was a minor celebrity. Oh, not one who had had a baby at sixteen or who had learned to ballroom dance or who had proposed to someone on network television. Not, in other words, a real celebrity. No, more like a D-lister who went to rehab or the younger sister of a socialite with a sex tape.

“Are you sure this is a good idea? This isn’t really my scene,” she shouted into Alyse’s ear as they pushed through the crowd.

“For a week you’ve only left the apartment for work and therapy. You spend twelve hours a day sleeping. You’re hibernating. Clearly we need to get you out of your scene,” Alyse shouted back. A cover-girl-pretty blonde, her roommate spent days raising money to ensure that girls in the developing world could learn to read and nights feasting on DC’s limited nightlife. In other words, Millie’s polar opposite.

She swallowed a sigh. While she’d never admit it aloud, Alyse had a point. When they reached the large table their friends had snagged, someone offered her a drink. Actually three drinks appeared and she accepted the sticky pink Cosmo.

Margot, a pale redhead who lobbied on environmental issues and who could always be counted on to wear fabulous non-leather shoes, was saying, “I had to wait for three trains before one came with any room to get on. But it was okay because it had the Barry White conductor.”

In response, the girls crowding the table squealed, “Go forth, Farragut North!”

Yeah, that guy was famous—much more appropriately than Millie. At least he had a skill. Young DC had raised complaining about the Red Line while celebrating public transportation to an art form. Only artisan varieties of infused vodka inspired more enthusiasm.

Uninterested in trading more Metro stories, Millie sipped her drink slowly and scanned the room. Crowding the club were your interns, recognizable by their inappropriate interpretations of business casual and their frat party lingo. There were your nonprofit and advocacy types, like herself, though often much crunchier. And there were your escapees from the Hill and the White House. The latter could usually be found clutching smartphones or, in the most obnoxious cases, still wearing their hard passes. Nothing spelled sexy like a guy who wanted you and everyone else to know he had access to the OEOB.

Tonight she was surrounded by lots of drunk people who wanted to change the world. Change it and manipulate it and convince voters they wanted to change it in ways other than how they actually wanted to change it and…well, it amounted to the same thing.

You can read the rest of the first chapter here and there’s a brief teaser here.

© Emma Barry, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Emma Barry with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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